Colorado or Bust: Day 3

Colorado or Bust!  Loading up the ‘ol Family Truckster to drive 16 hours there, 16 hours back, for a grand total of 32 hours in the car with three small children.  Will we survive?


Baby it’s COLD OUTSIDE!  We woke at the crack of dawn on day 3, courtesy of Mountain Time and the lack of curtains to block out the ridiculously bright sunlight.  We were shivering in our un-air conditioned, un-heated cabin, so we did what we had to do.  We lit a fire.

A fire in July!

And it was glorious.

Warming my feet in front of the fire, coffee in hand, with the woody scent of evergreens  (I think that they were actually  Blue Spruce) filling the air,  I found myself singing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”.   And it was.  It was our own little Christmas in July.  I heated some homemade cinnamon rolls in the oven (that the owner of the cabin made for us), which added to the scene.  Everything was perfect.

Until I went outside.

My husband’s gashed finger needed some fresh bandaging, so I went out to the car to get the first aid kit.   It was parked under a little car port, with a trash can tucked away into the corner.  The hubby had meticulously unloaded the car the evening before, and cleaned out all of the road trash we’d accumulated over sixteen hours.  Well, I guess McDonald’s coffee and peanut butter and jelly crust smells mighty enticing, because some sort of varmint had gotten into the trash can, spilling its contents across the yard.   I went back inside to tell the family that we’d been racooned a la “The Great Outdoors” (a movie that the big girls love), so they all rushed outside to help assess the damage.

And that’s when we noticed something.

The driver’s side of my car door was covered in muddy prints.  Paw prints.  And the window,  which had been left cracked to air out the road stank, was covered in some sort of snotty residue.   One of the prints was perfectly intact, and that’s when we realized something.  It wasn’t a raccoon.

It was a bear.

Bear Print!

Bear Snot!

Someone later told us that the recent Waldo Canyon wildfires had driven a lot of bears into more populated areas, so there were lots of bear warnings out.  Unfortunately, we did not receive any bear warnings, other than, you know, the actual bear.

We cleaned up the mess and brought the trash cans inside for the rest of the trip.  I personally wanted to leave them out so we could get a bear sighting on camera, but the rest of the family outvoted me on that one.

After the drama of the morning, the rest of the day was comparatively uneventful.   We went into Manitou Springs to shop and play at the Penny Arcades (though I didn’t actually see anything that only cost a penny; it was about 49 more cents than they advertised, the jerks).    We all took a drink from the famous springs, touted for their health benefits (drink = took a lick and spit it out because it was revolting).    For lunch we went to the Crystal Park Cantina, which supposedly had amazing Mexican food.  Now, you all know that I am a Texan, and therefore have very specific ideas about how Mexican food should taste.   When we lived in Georgia I was in a constant state of misery, because frankly, their Mexican food is awful.   So to say that I was skeptical about Colorado’s Mexican food would be putting it mildly.

But it was FANTASTIC.  As much as I hate to say this, it was probably the best Mexican food I’ve ever had.

The world’s best Mexican food

Yet another point in favor of Colorado!

The only downfall of lunch was my youngest child, who was teething and, I think, having some altitude adjustment issues.   In the history of three children I have NEVER had to take a child out of a restaurant for misbehavior.

We took A out three separate times.

She was screaming, writhing, throwing food, generally being miserable and ensuring the misery of everyone else in that restaurant.   My husband had to restrain me from making a vasectomy appointment right then and there.

After lunch we went back to the cabin to rest, relax, and enjoy being outside without melting.  We concluded the day with an amazing, awe-inspiring DOUBLE RAINBOW over the mountains.  I have never seen one so bright and colorful. Seriously, I was awe-struck and speechless (a rarity for me).  We actually saw the end of the rainbow, something that I’ve never seen before (no Leprechauns though, dang it).   It’s moments like those that make me stand still and KNOW that God is watching over me.

Double rainbow over the mountains

Stay tuned for Day 4, where we tackle the North Pole, my fear of heights, and my hubby’s ability to hold down food!